True nuts Common hazelnut,
as it grows on the tree
The following are both culinary and
- Acorn (Quercus,
Lithocarpus and Cyclobalanopsis spp.),
used from ancient times among indigenous
peoples of the Americas as a staple food,
in particular for making bread and
- Beech (Fagus spp.)
- American beech (Fagus
grandifolia), used by Native American
nations as food. Several tribes sought
stores of beech nuts gathered by chipmunks
and deer mice, thus obtaining nuts that
were already sorted and shelled.
European beech (Fagus sylvatica), although
edible, have never been popular a source
of food. They have been used as animal
feed and to extract a popular edible oil.
- Breadnut (Brosimum
alicastrum), used by the ancient Maya
peoples as animal fodder, and as an
alternative food when yield of other crops
- Candlenut (Aleurites
moluccana), used in many South East Asian
- Chestnuts (Castanea spp.)
- Chinese chestnuts (Castanea
mollissima) have been eaten in China since
- Sweet chestnuts (Castanea
sativa) unlike most nuts are high in
starch and sugar. Extensively grown in
Europe and the Himalayas.
- Hazelnuts (Corylus spp.),
most commercial varieties of which descend
from the European hazelnut (Corylus
avellana). Hazelnuts are used to make
pralines, in the popular Nutella spread,
in liqueurs, and in many other foods.
--American hazelnut (Corylus americana),
appealing for breeding because of its
-- Eastern and western beaked hazel (Corylus
cornuta), native to the United States.
-- European hazelnut (Corylus avellana) is
the source of most commercial hazelnuts.
-- Filbert (Corylus maxima) are commonly
used as "filler" in mixed nut
--Several other species are edible, but
not commercially cultivated to any
significant extent. These include the
cold-tolerant Siberian hazelnut (C.
heterophylla), C. kweichowensis, which
grows in the warmer parts of China, C.
sieboldiana, which grows in Japan and
China, and other minor Corylus species.
- Johnstone River almond
(Elaeocarpus bancroftii), a prized forage
food among northern Australian aboriginal
- Kola nut (Cola spp.),
from a West African relative of the cocoa
tree, is the origin of the cola flavor in
- Kurrajong (Brachychiton
spp.), native to Australia, highly
regarded as a bush food among northern
- Malabar chestnut (Pachira
aquatica) have a taste reminiscent of
peanuts when raw, and of cashews or
European chestnuts (which they strongly
resemble) when roasted.
- Mongongo (Ricinodendron
rautanenii) nuts are an abundant source of
protein among Bushmen in the Kalahari
desert. Also of interest as a source
of oil for skin care.
- Palm nuts (Elaeis
guineensis) are an important famine food
among the Himba people in Africa.
- Karuka (Pandanus spp.),
native to Papua New Guinea. Both the
planted and wild species are eaten raw,
roasted or boiled, providing food security
when other foods are less available.
-- Planted karuka (Pandanus julianettii)
is a cultivated species, planted by
roughly half the rural population of Papua
-- Wild karuka (Pandanus brosimos) is an
important food source in villages at
higher altitudes in New Guinea.
- Red bopple nut (Hicksbeachia
pinnatifolia) is native to the east coast
of Australia. Low in fat, high in
calcium and potassium. Eaten as bush food.
Considered similar, but inferior to the
- Yellow walnut (Beilschmiedia
bancroftii) is native to Australia where
it served as a staple food among
Australian aboriginal people.
Nut-like drupe seeds
A drupe is a fleshy fruit surrounding a
stone, or pit, containing a seed. Some of
these seeds are culinary nuts as well.
Almonds (Prunus dulcis) have a long
and important history of religious, social
and cultural significance as a food. Speculated to
have originated as a natural hybrid in
Central Asia, almonds spread throughout
the Middle East in ancient times and
thence to Eurasia. The almond is one of
only two nuts mentioned in the Bible.
- Australian cashew nut (Semecarpus
australiensis) is a source of food for
Australian aboriginal people of
north-eastern Queensland and Australia's
- Betel or areca nuts
(Areca catechu) are chewed in many
cultures as a psychoactive drug. They
are also used in Indian cuisine to make
sweet after-dinner treats (mukwa) and
breath-fresheners (paan masala).
- Borneo tallow nuts (Shorea
spp.) are grown in the tropical rain
forests of South East Asia, as a source of
- Canarium spp.
-- Canarium nut (Canarium harveyi,
Canarium indicum, or Canarium commune) has
long been an important food source in
-- Chinese olive (Canarium album) pits are
processed before use as an ingredient in
-- Pili nuts (Canarium ovatum) are native
to the Philippines, where they have been
cultivated for food from ancient times.
- Cashews (Anacardium
occidentale) grow as a drupe that is
attached to the cashew apple, the fruit of
the cashew tree. Native to
northeastern Brazil, the cashew was
introduced to India and East Africa in the
sixteenth century, where they remain a
major commercial crop. The nut must be
roasted to remove the caustic shell oil
before being consumed.
- Chilean hazel (Gevuina
avellana), from an evergreen native to
South America, similar in appearance and
taste to the hazelnut.
- Coconut (Cocos nucifera),
used world-wide as a food. The fleshy part
of the seed is edible, and used either
desiccated or fresh as an ingredient in
many foods. The pressed oil from the
coconut is used in cooking as well.
- Gabon nut (Coula edulis)
has a taste comparable to hazelnut or
chestnut. It is eaten raw, grilled or
- Hickory (Carya spp.)
-- Mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa),
named after the heavy hammer (moker in
Dutch) required to crack the heavy shell
and remove the tasty nutmeat.
-- Pecans (Carya illinoinensis) are the
only major nut tree native to North
America. Pecans are eaten as a snack
food, and used as an ingredient in baking
and other food preparation.
-- Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) has over
130 named cultivars. They are a valuable
source of food for wildlife, and were
eaten by Native American nations and
-- Shellbark hickory (Carya laciniosa)
nuts are sweet, and are the largest of the
hickories. They are also eaten by a wide
variety of wildlife.
- Irvingia spp. are
native to Africa
-- Bush mango (Irvingia gabonensis) has
both edible fruit and an edible nut, which
is used as a thickening agent in stews and
soups in West African cuisines.
-- Ogbono nut (Irvingia wombolu) is
similar to the bush mango, but the fruit
is not edible.
- Jack nuts (Artocarpus
heterophyllus) are the seeds of the jack
fruit. With a taste like chestnuts, they
have an extremely low fat content of less
- Panda oleosa is used in
Gabon in a similar way to bush mango nuts,
as well as to extract an edible oil.
- Pekea nut, or
butter-nut of Guiana (Caryocar nuciferum),
harvested locally for its highly prized
- Pistachio (Pistacia
vera L.), cultivated for thousands of
years, native to West Asia and Asia
Walnut (Juglans spp.)
-- Black walnut (Juglans nigra), also
popular as food for wildlife, with an
appealing, distinctive flavor. Native of
North America. 
-- Butternut (Juglans cinerea) (or white
walnut) is native to North America. Used
extensively, in the past, by -- Native
American tribes as food.
-- English walnut (Juglans regia) (or
Persian walnut) was introduced to
California around 1770. California now
represents 99% of US walnut growth. It
is often combined with salads, vegetables,
fruits or desserts because of its
-- Heartnut, or Japanese walnut (Juglans
aitlanthifolia), native to Japan, with a
characteristic cordate shape. Heartnuts are often toasted or baked, and
can be used as a substitute for English
A gymnosperm, from the
Greek gymnospermos (γυμνόσπερμος), meaning
"naked seed", is a seed that does not have
an enclosure. The following gymnosperms are
culinary nuts. All but the ginkgo nut are
- Cycads (Macrozamia spp.)
Burrawang nut (Macrozamia communis), a
major source of starch for Australian
aboriginal people around Sydney.
- Ginkgo nuts (Ginkgo
biloba) are a common ingredient in Chinese
cooking. They are starchy, low in fat,
protein and calories, but high in vitamin
- Araucaria spp.
--- Bunya nut (Araucaria bidwillii) is
native to Queensland, Australia. Nuts are
the size of walnuts, and rich in
-- Monkey-puzzle nut (Araucaria araucana)
has nuts twice the size of almonds. Rich
in starch. Roasted, boiled, eaten raw, or
fermented in Chile and Argentina.
-- Paraná pine nut (Araucaria angustifolia)
(or Brazil pine nut) is an edible seed
similar to pine nuts.
- Pine nuts (Pinus spp.)
Pine nuts can be toasted and added to
salads and are used as an ingredient in
pesto, among other regional uses.
-- Chilgoza pine (Pinus gerardiana),
common in Central Asia. Nuts are used raw,
roasted or in confectionary products.
-- Colorado pinyon (Pinus edulis), in
great demand as an edible nut, with
average annual production of 454 to 900
-- Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis), a
pine-nut yielding species native to
-- Mexican pinyon (Pinus cembroides),
found in Mexico and Arizona. Nuts are
eaten raw, roasted, or made into
-- Single-leaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla)
grows in foothills from Mexico to Idaho.
Eaten as other pine nuts. Also sometimes
ground and made into pancakes.
-- Stone pine, or pignolia nut (Pinus
pinea) is the most commercially important
These culinary nuts are seeds contained
within a larger fruit.
- Brazil nuts (Bertholletia
excelsa) are harvested from an estimated
250,000–400,000 trees per year. Highly
valued edible nut used in the
confectionery and baking trades.
Excellent dietary source of selenium.
Macadamia (Macadamia spp.) are primarily
produced in Hawai'i and Australia. Both
species are native to Australia. They are
a highly valued edible nut. Waste nuts are
commonly used to extract an edible
- Macadamia nut
(Macadamia tetraphylla) has a rough shell,
and is the subject of some
Queensland macadamia nut (Macadamia
integrifolia) has a smooth shell, and is
the principal commercial macadamia
- Paradise nut (Lecythis
usitata), native to the Amazon rain
forest, highly regarded by indigenous
- Peanut, or groundnut (Arachis
hypogaea), originally from South America,
has grown from a relatively minor crop to
one of the most important commercial nut
crops, in part due to the work of George
Washington Carver at the beginning of the
- Peanut tree (Sterculia
quadrifida) or bush peanut, native to
Australia. One of the tastiest native
nuts. Requires no preparation.[note 1]
- Soybeans (Glycine max)
are used as a nut, in addition to their
use as oil seeds.